Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose, Snowball)

Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose, Snowball) is a deciduous shrub that produces abundant flowers in spring and leaves of magnificent color in autumn. It is native from Europe and Asia and is grown as an ornamental plant. Its branches are woody, starting from the base with an open form. The leaves are opposite, trilobate and in autumn they get beautiful red tones, before they fall, in the winter (see photo).

Common name: Guelder Rose, Snowball
Scientific name: Viburnum opulus
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Guelder Rose blooms in late spring or early summer, blossoming inflorescences with numerous white flowers or slightly pink and delicately scented. The inflorescences have an umbrella shape and the flowers in the edges are usually larger than the center, as in some varieties of hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). The fruits are formed in a bunch of spherical and red balls, acidic. They are edible in small quantities, ornamental and quite attractive to the birds that love the banquet in the garden.

Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose, Snowball) flower
Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose, Snowball) flower

How to plant

It must be planted under full sun or half shade, in fertile soil, preferably acid, well drained, enriched with organic matter and irrigated regularly. Snowball tolerates the cold, as well as light frost. After flowering it is advisable to remove weaker and older branches from the base to aerate the plant and stimulate new branches.

In the garden, a Snowball can be used alone, in groups or in conjunction with other plants, and the gardener must be alert to its informal and free appearance. It forms an excellent backdrop for lower species and colorful flowers. The variation of colors and shapes that occurs seasonally in this shrub makes it interesting and attractive in all seasons.

It can also be planted in pots and can be used for Bonsai art.


It is multiplied by cuttings of semi-hardwood or hardwood branches.

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